What a game. I haven’t felt this level of satisfaction with a game - this level of personal attachment - since… I dunno… Metroid?
In Scott McCloud’s book Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels (I get kickbacks if you buy from that link) he explains that the less detail you include in a drawing, the easier it is for your audience to identify with your protagonist. Everyone can read a comic strip starring a stick-figure and think “Yeah, that’s me.” With each detail you add - sex, skin color, hair style, clothing choices - you alienate some of your audience. That’s not always a bad choice.
But in the adventure game genre I have to say there’s a lot of reward for cutting back on details. When I play Grand Theft Auto 3+ I can see the avatar that I’m controlling on-screen. I don’t feel that I personally am wrecking police cars and driving tanks over station wagons. When I played Metroid in junior high, that was me in that orange-and-green suit. It didn’t matter when I found out Samus was a woman, really.
Similarly, it didn’t matter that the protagonist in Sword & Sworcery is a female monk. That was still me wandering around amongst the bunnies and deer.
I’m not going to go into a whole game review. I’ll leave that to the pros. But I’ll say that this game is an incredible experiment in minimalism in every aspect: game mechanics, music, visual design…
Jim Guthrie’s soundtrack is as much a character in the game as the wild boar, who, in my opinion, steals the show. Do not play this game without headphones. Good ones.
Run, don’t walk, to the iOS App Store to get a copy of Sword & Sworcery (I don’t get kickbacks from that link).